Are Lockers Obsolete?

Empty+lockers+along+one+of+Chamblees+hallways

Photo courtesy of Keegan Brooks

Empty lockers along one of Chamblee’s hallways

Keegan Brooks, Staff Writer

There have been many changes to Chamblee High School because of the COVID-19 pandemic — from mask requirements to taped-over water fountains. One other change has been that students are not allowed to use the lockers that line Chamblee’s hallways. This policy was presumably implemented to discourage people from crowding around lockers in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. If you watch almost any American high school movie, you’d think locker breaks were a quintessential part of the high school experience. However, is this hallway locker-time really essential?

Although having all of the lockers locked is a change at Chamblee, this has had a minimal negative impact on students. Additionally, because of school going virtual during the pandemic, freshmen and sophomores at Chamblee have never even had the experience of having a locker in high school.

Even before the pandemic, the majority of Chamblee students that I knew did not actively use their lockers. There are various reasons for this, but a common reason was the inconvenience. The school is so large that going to your locker was near impossible. With only five minutes between classes, many students just don’t have the time to go to their locker and also make it to their next class on time or go to the restroom. With two buildings, four floors, and some classes in trailers, there is only so much time between classes to get where you need to go. It’s easier and more convenient for students to carry everything with them in their backpacks.

Carrying textbooks around in the pre-internet era was cumbersome, so lockers were a must. However, high school students today carry less stuff than students in previous decades. From homework assignments on Google Classroom to PDFs of textbooks, many things that students used to have to carry are now online. I would likely feel differently about lockers if I had to carry around textbooks or large amounts of anything for all of my classes, but I don’t have to, thanks to the advantages technology has brought to schools.

Because of the decreasing utility of lockers — and the pandemic showing our school can still function without them — the school’s administration should consider removing lockers from the hallways of Chamblee. This would create more space in the hallways, which would alleviate overcrowding in the halls, allow for easier social distancing, and create more space for murals or art.

Some people may argue that lockers are necessary for students who use them to store sports equipment. Perhaps some lockers should remain in use for our school’s sports teams. However, athletes at Chamblee have been managing this school year with none of the lockers in use.

When something loses its purpose and usefulness, it becomes obsolete. With online course materials and sprawling schools, there has indeed been a culture shift around school lockers. They aren’t necessary for day-to-day activities. With increasing overcrowding, we could all use more space in the hallways.